By Natalia Konarzewska
March 10, 2023
Isolated but natural gas-rich Turkmenistan has recently become a subject of geopolitical competition owing to the energy crisis in Europe and Western energy sanctions imposed on Russia as a consequence of its invasion of Ukraine. During a mid-December 2022 tripartite meeting in Turkmenistan between the presidents of Turkmenistan, Azerbaijan and Turkey, Turkish president Recep Tayyip Erdogan sought to make the case for Ashgabat to join the Organization of Turkic States and to start exporting its gas via the Caspian Sea and Turkey to Europe. Turkmenistan, however, prefers to remain neutral and maintain positive relations with Moscow, which would be at risk if the country decided to export its gas to Turkey bypassing Russia. Moreover, Russia’s plans to divert its trade and gas export routes towards Asian markets potentially offers a prominent role for Turkmenistan.
By Johan Engvall
March 7, 2022
Russia’s full-scale invasion of Ukraine on February 24, 2022 created shockwaves with profound effects in most corners of the world. However, few regions were poised to be as deeply affected by the war as Central Asia. Entrenched political, military, economic and cultural dependencies link the Central Asian states to Russia, which made their future look bleak when Russia commenced its full-scale invasion of Ukraine and the west responded by sanctioning the Russian economy. One year later, the following question emerges: how has the war affected Central Asia-Russia relations and how has the Central Asian states adjusted their external policies to cope with a turbulent geopolitical environment?
By Halil Karaveli
February 15, 2022
By Stephen Blank
February 7, 2023
At the end of 2022 Armen Grigoryan, Secretary of Armenia’s Security Council, announced on television that Armenia is under strong pressure, presumably from Moscow, to join the union state of Russia and Belarus and open an “extraterritorial (trade) corridor” to Azerbaijan’s Nakhichevan province through its own Syunik province. While Armenia’s acute security predicament provides an opportunity for this Russian move, the question is why Moscow has chosen this particular timing and what it portends for the future of the Caucasus.
By S. Frederick Starr
December 2, 2022
In recent months Turkmenistan has emerged from its self-imposed shell. Under its new president, Serdar Berdimuhamedov, it has launched a very active, though still cautious, foreign policy. While reaffirming its neutral status, which the UN recognized in 1995, it has intensified its relations with all the global powers and, significantly, with its neighbors as well. Both the U.S. and EU have applauded these initiatives and the new president’s strategic concept that underlies them. However, events unfold, Turkmenistan has decisively lifted its head, and will henceforth be a significant factor in regional and continental affairs and not simply a perplexing outlier.
The Central Asia-Caucasus Analyst is a biweekly publication of the Central Asia-Caucasus Institute & Silk Road Studies Program, a Joint Transatlantic Research and Policy Center affiliated with the American Foreign Policy Council, Washington DC., and the Institute for Security and Development Policy, Stockholm. For 15 years, the Analyst has brought cutting edge analysis of the region geared toward a practitioner audience.